Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Lessons Learned

I was recently interviewed by someone from the Newark Post for an upcoming article on homebrewing (Joe Gallo from How Do You Brew? sent her my direction). One of the questions she asked me was if I had learned all that there was to know about homebrewing - I politely responded "hell no", and explained that even though I've brewed over 400 gallons at this point, my 2 years of experience couldn't possible expose me to everything that our more senior club members have during their 10+ years... and every time I think I've got it nailed down, something jumps up and shows me just how little I truely do know.

That has prompted me to enumerate a list of things learned in the past 3 or 4 months. Some are humerous, and others you will probably groan at... either because you found this out the hard way too, or you just know its a bad idea to begin with.

That and so many others... I've got a whole lot to learn.


I figured I'd take a picture that embodied several of these learnings. First, note the demijohn on the left - 10 gallons of (soon to be) oak-aged vanilla porter... source of bullet #1 through 4 and 8. The right hand side is 1/2 of the batch of Horizon Bitter (the other half went home with Mike Castagno, another club member), an english bitter brewed with all-horizon hops, and source of comment number #7 and 10. That thick yummy kraeusen of Ringwood Ale yeast is just BEGGING to be top cropped, alas I cannot in a carboy - SUCKS!!! I've got a killer Iron Hill Pig Iron Porter recipe that could easily be brewed with that fat layer of bitchin' biomass.

I am hoping that the hot flavors in my porter will chill with time, and that the oak and vanilla will at least mask if not aid any deficiencies in the hopping and temperature control arena. Last batch I made was "too hoppy" anyways for what I was shooting for, but I certainly didn't mean to undershoot the IBUs by about 20. Mike Castagno brought over some of the only real cure for an underhopped beer, although I haven't added it yet - and will probably only adjust 10 IBUs instead of the full 20.

Here is a lesson I've learned:

Never leave cleaning fluid in 1 gallon water jugs next to your wort... in the Hop infused fury you may dump it in the Wort...mmmm tasty
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